Professional grooming can be pricey, especially if you own a breed of dog with thick fur. Rather than spend a fortune on groomers, many dog owners look to DIY grooming for a cheaper option.
Read this post for a guide on how to successfully use dog clippers, including tips and a step-by-step technique guide.
Tips for the Mastering the Dog Clipper
Professional dog groomers make trimming your pet look easy, but there’s a fair amount of skill involved. Here we have a few tips that will help you handle your dog clippers like you’re one of the pros.
How Dog Clippers Work
Dog clippers are very similar to the clippers used at your local hair salon. They are electric tools with sharp blades that cut through heavy dog fur, leaving behind a clean trim.
The blades come in different shapes or sizes, and can be switched out depending on the job at hand. Fine tooth blades are best for thin, soft coats and leave a smooth trim. A skip tooth blade can handle thicker fur, but leaves a more uneven look.
Buying the Best Dog Clippers
With so many brands to choose from, it can be difficult distinguishing which is the best dog clipper for your canine companion. Here are a few things you should keep in mind when choosing a pair of clippers.
We recommend that owners purchase professional clipper kits, which come with everything you need for the best cut.
Research Your Dog’s Breed
Not all dog fur is the same, so naturally not all dog clippers are the same. While most basic clippers can get the job done, choosing the wrong size or blade type can leave your pup with a choppy trim.
Take some time to research your dog’s breed, and look for any information that might guide you. For example, the American Kennel Club has a list of breed standards that can help dog owners get a better understanding of how their dog should look.
Start at an Early Age
If your dog is older and has never been groomed before, they’ll likely be a bit nervous. The best way to get your dog used to dog clippers is to start grooming early. The earlier you start grooming, the more likely your dog will learn how to behave.
Getting your dog accustomed to the clippers will help prevent cuts and mistakes. It will also help you learn more about how to keep your dog properly groomed. You will have a better understanding of their coat, how to make them comfortable, and which clippers will work best.
Watch Professional Groomers
Before you jump into DIY dog grooming, it’s worth taking the time to study up on the professional techniques. Take some time to watch professional grooming videos, especially ones dealing with your dog’s breed. This will help you learn the best techniques that will keep you and your dog safe.
You can also talk to a professional groomer or a veterinarian about to get a more hands on experience. These experts will give you insight on the best ways to groom your dog.
Prep Your Clipping Area Ahead of Time
Trimming your dog can be a lot of work, especially if you haven’t properly prepared for it. Before you turn on the clippers, make sure you have everything you need to get the job done right. This means checking to make sure you have the right blades, and placing all of your tools at arms reach. This includes brushes, trimming scissors, and hair dryers.
We recommend that you groom your dog in an area that is easy to clean, such as the bathroom. Lay out multiple towels to dry your dog and catch any stray hair that falls. If you’re worried your dog may fidget, grab a leash to help keep them from running off.
Take Frequent Breaks
When used for extended periods of time, dog clipper blade can heat up to dangerous temperatures. Though you may feel the need to rush through a trim, it’s safer to take frequent breaks as to avoid any potential injury. This will also help keep your dog calm, and get them properly acclimated to the clippers.
If you don’t want to wait for the blades to cool down, we recommend using a blade coolant. You can also purchase additional blades to switch out when they get too hot.
Step-by-Step Guide to Using Dog Clippers
You’ve done the research. You bought the clippers. Now, it’s time to trim your pup! Here’s a quick step-by-step guide on how to successfully groom your dog.
1) Bathe Your Dog
Before you start up the clippers, it’s important to give your dog a bath. This will wash away any dirt or grime that may clog up your clippers. Trust us, it’s much easier to clip a clean dog than a dirty one.
Place your dog in a tub or bath with warm water and apply a gentle dog shampoo. Work the shampoo into their fur, before rinsing entirely. Once your dog is clean, pat them dry with a towel to ensure they don’t get water everywhere.
2) Brush Out Fur
It is very important to brush any knots or clumps of hair before you begin clipping. Using a grooming brush, gently comb through your dog’s fur to smooth it out for the cut. This will remove any shed hair, leaving behind only good hair for the trim.
While you’re brushing your dog, take note of the direction their fur naturally lays. This will give you a better idea of which way to run the clippers.
3) Test Your Dog’s Tolerance
The sound and movement of the clippers can spook your dog if they’re not ready for it. To help your dog get accustomed to the clippers, turn it on and let them get used to the sound.
After a few moments, pick a spot to test the clippers out. The first few cuts may make a dog jumpy, so it’s a good idea to gently hold them down. We recommend having at least one other person around to help keep the dog calm during grooming.
4) Shave from the Neck Down
Once your pup is used to the dog clippers, it’s time to start trimming. Start from the top of the dog’s neck and slowly work your way down to the shoulder area. Make sure you are shaving towards the natural direction that the fur lays.
Once you’ve finished the neck area, work your way down the dog’s back and down to the side of the body. To clip the legs, gently pick up the leg and hold it straight out and run the clipper down it. Once the front legs are done, move back to work on the hind legs.
5) Remember to Take Breaks
Even if your dog seems to be taking to the clippers well, it’s important to take breaks every few strokes. This will ensure that the blades do not overheat and cause hard to your dog. If the blades do get hot, spray them with coolant or lay them out on a baking pan to cool.
When you’re nearing the end of the trim, it’s a good idea to switch out the blade with finer teeth. This will leave a smoother look, and works better for the sensitive areas of the body.
6) Leave Sensitive Spots for Last
Dogs tend to freak out when the clippers get close to the sensitive spots, such as the face or near the tail. To prevent a wiggly pup, we recommend that you leave these sensitive areas for last.
When clipping these sensitive areas, take care not to get the clippers too close to your dog’s skin. If the dog panics and tries to break free, you may end up accidentally cutting them.
7) Praise Your Pup
Grooming can be a traumatizing event for your pup, so make sure you give them plenty of praise throughout the experience. If it seems like the process is overwhelming your dog, take a break and reward them with praise or a treat. This will help keep your dog calm, and will give them positive memories of the routine.
You may not be able to trim the full coat off the first time, but that’s nothing to worry about. Some dogs are more finicky than others, so it may take a few times to get them used to being groomed.
Final Thoughts on DIY Dog Clipping
DIY dog grooming is a great way to keep your pet looking their best simultaneously saving you money. While using dog clippers can be intimidating, they are surprisingly easy to master with a little bit of practice. By taking your time and preparing properly, you’ll become a dog grooming pro in no time!